When I heard that Wolves in The Throne Room were going to release a new full-length, I was thrilled. And this excitement only increased when it was mentioned that their new album, Celestite, would act as a companion to their previous full-length, Celestial Lineage. And why should I not be? This band, in my mind, has always released great albums, from Diadem of 12 Starts, Two Hunters, Black Cascade to Celestial Lineage, I was never disappointed with what they did. But Celestite is not your typical Wolves in The Throne Room album, and it is quite different from anything they have done up until now.
OK, so what is the deal with Celestite? It is basically what the band said it would be: a companion to Celestial Lineage. Wolves in the Throne Room leave behind their black metal identity for this one — I know it does not sound plausible, but it still happened. Well, at least they leave behind their black metal instrumentation. Celestite sees the band taking on synths and parting with guitars and drums, trying to convey their ideas and emotions in a completely different manner than ever before. Now you are going to ask if that is good. Well, it is not bad. To treat Celestite with disdain just because the band is trying something different is not what I am going to do, and even though this was not a move I expected from the band, it does not mean I should trash the record, and neither should you.
In essence, Wolves in The Throne Room are much closer to Pink Floyd in this album than to, let’s say, early Ulver or Darkthrone. Their use of synths is nothing short of grand, with “Turning Ever Towards the Sun” taking you on a majestic trip through space and time, while at the same time keeping a quite malicious and sinister outlook. And as the rest of the tracks unfold you can get glimpses of their true, disturbing nature. For instance, in both “Initiation of Neudeng Alm” — which, by the way, is one of the most distressing moments of Celestite — and in “Celestite Mirror,” you will get some drone guitar parts to enrich the synths, revealing the darkness that always lies at the core of this band.
From that point on, if you are also a fan of psychedelic music, then you will easily appreciate the trippy effects of “Bridges of Leaves” and its spiraling melodies, as well as the inherent darkness of “Celestite Mirror,” which contains some stunning compositions from the band and a very majestic stance. And then you also get the completely insane moments, the moments that you thought you would never hear from Wolves in the Throne Room, as is for instance the part about four minutes in “Sleeping Golden Storm”.
This album is not meant for all the fans of the band, and I am quite sure that the band will be bashed by many people for their decision to try something different. So my guess is that if you want Wolves in the Throne Room to simply be a black metal act releasing only black metal albums, then you better avoid Celestite. On the other hand, if you are into some more experimental stuff, then you should have a listen and judge for yourself. Personally, I think that it is a good album, and a quite enjoyable listen. And I will be looking forward to their next one.